Ticks can be an issue for pets in the Grass Valley. Today our Grass Valley Veterinary Hospital vets explain the dangers of ticks, how these external parasites thrive, and how to protect your pet and your family.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that bite and feed on the blood of animals and humans. They are typically found in grassy areas and rely on host animals (usually wild animals) for transportation as they do not jump or fly. Wild animals will often bring these pests onto your property where they can easily latch on to your dog or outdoor cat.
Are ticks dangerous?
Ticks are responsible for spreading a number of serious diseases to both pets and people. The most commonly spread condition is Lyme disease, which is transmitted when an infected tick's saliva—which contains the Borrelia bacteria responsible for Lyme disease—makes its way into the bloodstream of a pet or human.
What do ticks look like in Grass Valley?
The western black-legged tick is one of the most common tick species found in Grass Valley and has the distinction as being the species responsible for most cases of Lyme disease in our state.
The black-legged tick is found in wooded, bushy areas and both males and females have flat, oval bodies. While female western black-legged ticks' bodies are about 1/8" in size and orangish-brown (with a reddish-brown colored abdomen that becomes darker after feeding on a host), male western black-legged ticks are roughly 1/16" and reddish-brown overall. They are longer than they are wide, and have sharply pointed, toothed mouth parts you can see clearly from above. Though tick exposure may occur year-round, they are most active from March to July.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after a short walk through bush and grass, check your dog carefully for ticks. Be sure to check deep within your pet's fur, behind and inside the ears, between the legs, around the neck and between the toes.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
Preventive measures for ticks include spot-on treatments, oral medications, tick collars, or even using a shampoo containing medicated ingredients to bathe your pet and kill ticks on contact. Speak with your vet to determine the right option for you and your pet.
To help keep your yard tick-free, keep your grass cut short and reduce the amount of brush around your yard. This will give ticks fewer areas to live and breed. At the height of tick season, you may want to limit the time your pet spends outside in the grass.